Politicians should sell policies in rallies, not violence and insults

DP William Ruto shakes hands with Martha Karua at Bomet Green Stadium, on April 1, 2017. Looking on is Governor Salim Mvurya (center). [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

From social media to political campaign rallies, hate speech, ethnic profiling and political intolerance are now becoming the order of the day as the country heads towards the General Election. With only two months to the August 9 polls mainstream media political stories are mostly of how different politicians have been heckled during their campaigns.

Politicians who have been booed during rallies have come out to suggest that rival political leaders are behind their tribulations.

Fellow Kenyans and the youth of this country, let us not allow politicians to use us to cause chaos during this political season. They will use and dump you and will never come to your rescue should you be arrested and arraigned.

A few months ago we saw how a number young people were used to attack Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga in Kabene, Uasin Gishu County. Deputy President William Ruto’s motorcade was also attacked in Kondele, Kisumu city, last year.

As the youth of this country we should not display our strength through chaos. During such chaos in the past, we have seen young people who left their homes for the streets to defend a certain political agenda return home in coffins.

If politicians have never used their own children to cause chaos during any electioneering period, why would you allow yourself to be used by a politician to cause chaos?

The habit of politicians always hiring young people to cause violence in opponents’ rallies for a small amount of money is politics of the past. Use that money to develop the lives of the youth you want to misuse for your political mileage.

Not a matter of life and death

Only an irresponsible leader, who has no vision to empower a generation, would want to destroy the bright future of the youth.

Kenyans should know that the much-awaited forthcoming polls are not a matter of life and death, elections will come and go and this country must remain united.

As a country we should never again go through the experience of post-election violence. In 2007/08 property was destroyed, at least a thousand Kenyans were killed while hundreds of thousands others displaced.

Politicians are only enemies whenever they come out to address their supporters or their opponents but behind the scenes they are best of friends and even have meals together. So the electorate must not be fooled by the political shows that we see playing out in public.

To the youth, it is our time to say no to violence and start interrogating the agenda and manifestos of these politicians eyeing our votes.

We need to know how they will create jobs for the millions of jobless youth and how they will ensure the business environment remains favourable for young entrepreneurs.  

To the youth who are seeking various elective seats, what you will say during political campaigns will make or break the young people of this country who are looking up to you. You are the voice of reason during campaigns and a representative of the young generation in your political parties. You will also be the voice of the youth who want their voices heard at the decision making table.

You have no choice but to represent the millions of young people in this country only the best way you can. You have the task of pushing the youth’s interest in politics. Political parties should also nominate young people to Parliament should there be an opportunity after the elections.

During the 19th national prayer day held two weeks ago at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, leaders from various political factions put aside their political differences to come together and pray for the country.

We heard interesting speeches from senior political leaders, and they all committed to uniting the country.

Politicians usually make commitments of peace every electioneering season but surprisingly they never walk the talk; they speak of unity, tomorrow they head to political rallies and start abusing their opponents.

The political class should demonstrate a harmonised campaign and the electorate must also be seen as champions of peace, irrespective of their political affiliations.

To our politicians, your competition should be on the basis of ideas and not insults as the country gears towards elections. You have to lessen the political tension in the country by exercising tolerance towards each other.

Politicians need to undo the harm they have caused this country. Just like Ruto asked President Uhuru Kenyatta for forgiveness during the national prayer day, politicians also need to ask Kenyans for forgiveness. They are the reason the country is politically and ethnically divided based on their utterances.